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BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008)

BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008) Classic and Performance Car
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Launched in 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster was the long-awaited replacement for the extremely successful Z3 - BMW’s first foray into the mass-market two-seater sportscar segment. Controversial Chris Bangle-era styling, electromechanical power-steering and the adoption of run flat tyres met with some criticism at launch, but the well balanced handling and great range of engines ensured that the Z4 carried on its predecessors success story.

With its focus on handling and driving dynamics, the Z4 earned itself a reputation as a great drivers’ car, the M versions in particular are already becoming modern collectors cars. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
There are a large number of engine variations to choose from, however the basic running costs for the non-M six-cylinder models are quite similar, making the larger capacity variants – which provide a decent hike in power over the 2.2-litre cars – highly desirable. The 3.0-litre model in particular is a great compromise between the full-fat M variants and the lower models in the range, and was also the only non-M car that was made available in Coupe form. 

The Coupe, introduced in 2006, is a significantly rarer car than the soft-top. Thanks to the much more rigid body structure handling is even better, while there’s a slightly more usable luggage space in the back too. Ride quality on standard suspension is very firm, meaning that cars with sports suspension and big wheels can be surprisingly uncomfortable on anything other than smooth road surfaces. 

The base 2-litre four-cylinder cars are eager, and not much slower than the 2.2-litre models. They also use much less fuel and cost less to maintain, so if outright speed is not a priority then these models are a great compromise. 

At the other end of the scale, the M powered Z4 is a different proposition altogether. Using the 343bhp engine from the heavier E46 M3, and with a full M-spec suspension system, the Z4 M coupe and roadster models took the fight straight to Porsche and Mercedes. The award-winning engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated units, providing a raw edged driving experience that will leave you breathless. Running costs are relatively reasonable for a car of this type, although certain M specific components can be pricey - especially if sourced from BMW.

Gearbox options were five-speed manuals and automatics on the early cars, with the facelift introducing six-speed variants. The Sequential Manual Gearbox was made available on a limited number of the 3.0-litre cars and while fun when pressing on, they can be jerky in town driving.

There’s a huge choice whitch means that you can afford to be picky, and it’s absolutely worth driving a few different models. The driving experience between a base spec four-pot Z4 and a sporty three-litre model is surprisingly different.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 2996cc 24valve DOHC I6 
Power 261bhp @ 6600 rpm 
Torque 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Insurance group 44
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2495mm
Length 4090mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1300mm
Weight 1385kg
 
Common problems

• Parts are readily available and many maintenance items can be sourced from specialists.

• Suspension systems are generally reliable, however the springs are prone to snapping especially at the rear. Front control arm bushes tend to wear out and can be noticed by loose-feeling steering and creaking noises. Strut braces on the rear can break at the weld seams and will require expensive repairs. 

• Electrical systems are reliable, however some owners have complained of erratic wipers requiring motor replacements, which can be costly. Test all the buttons and switches inside the vehicle in case anything is amiss. 

• The interior is well built and there are no specific issues however the seats do rub against the body when pushed right back and can cause irritating squeaks when driving. 

• Engines are long lasting and should be smooth and free revving, especially the six-cylinder models. Power steering pumps can fail on early cars and the cooling system needs to be serviced regularly. The water pump can fail if the correct coolant mixture is not adhered to. 

• On M cars, check that the 1200-mile run in service was done, as failure to do so has been known to result in excessive engine wear. Crankcase ventilation oil separators can clog up and cause damage to the engine, but replacement parts are not unduly pricey.

• On convertible cars check the roof mechanism for any signs of slow operation or creasing in the roof lining. There should be no water ingress so any leaks may indicate an issue with the alignment of the roof or the side window fitment.
 
Model History 


2003: BMW Z4 launched in 170bhp 2.2, 190bhp 2.5 and 228bhp 3.0 litre versions. Five-speed manual and automatic transmission choices available, with SMG gearbox option available on 2.5 and 3.0 litre cars
2005: 215bhp 2.5si and 261bhp 3.0si engines replace older units resulting in lower emissions and higher power outputs. Navigation and heated seats introduced as optional extras, and SMG gearbox now only available on 3.0-litre cars. 2.2i six-cylinder entry level option replaced with 150bhp 2.0l four-cylinder engine.
2006: Mid-life facelift with new colours, wheel choices and minor changes to lighting. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes now available. Z4 Coupe introduced with 3.0-litre 261bhp engine,as wells as M Coupe with 343bhp M division engine.
2008: Final E85/86 Z4 rolls off the line
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• z4-forum.com
 
Summary and prices

Prices start at £3000-£4000 for the earliest cars, and as long as they have solid service and maintenance histories they can carry on forever, so don’t be put off by higher mileages. £6000-£8000 will get you one of the later cars. M Coupes and M Roadsters range between £12,000-£25,000 with condition and mileage being the biggest influencing factors on these cars.
 
The first Z4 has proven to be a great second-hand buy with reasonable running costs and styling that has improved with age. There are a lot of cars out there with a spec level and price to suit most people. It’s also a great way of experiencing the last of the old school BMWs, built before the motoring industry’s move to turbocharging and flappy paddles, so buy one now and enjoy it while you still can.
 
Words: John Tallodi
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Last updated: 4th Dec 2015
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BMW Z4
1695 28995 GBP
  • BMW Z4

    £14,200 £14,200

    • Mileage: 29400 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    £14,200 £14,200
    Taylors Pitstop
  • BMW Z4

    £12,995 £12,995

    *** AWARDED BEST CUSTOMER CARE 2017 *** Beautiful Deep Sea Blue Z4 with Beige Leather Interior. 2,270 worth of factory extras including Rear Parking Sensors, Enhanced Bluetooth Telephone Functionality, Metallic Paint, Heated Front Seats, Wind Deflector. Electric Hard Convertible Roof, Stop/Start, Auto Headlights, Climate Control A/C, 2 Keys, Full BMW Main Dealer Service History with services at 7k,11k,16k,22k and 30k. Car is excellent condition, runs and drives beautifully. Call us to discuss delivery anywhere in the UK on this car. AUTOGLYM LIFESHINE DEALER - Ask About having this product applied to your new car. Have a look at our testimonials on our website to read more about us and the services we can offer our clients. Video walk around of this car available. 'Like' our page on Facebook for stock updates. This vehicle is HPI Checked. WarrantyWise Warranties Available for 6,12,24 or 36 Months. UK Nationwide Delivery Available. Finance Specialist - We have over 20 lenders available for all circumstances and will beat your banks quote. CarFinance247 and Zuto Applications are considered but are subject to an admin fee - WHY NOT USE US? - WE WILL BEAT THEIR FINANCE FIGURES! FINANCE & DRIVE AWAY ON THE DAY. Nice Part Exchanges Considered. View our website - WWW.GEORGEKINGSLEY.CO.UK - Prestige & Performance Specialist - AWARD WINNING DEALER - BEST CUSTOMER CARE 2017 - All Vehicles Supplied with One Key unless otherwise stated. All Transactions subject to &pound

    • Mileage: 36271 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    £12,995 £12,995
  • BMW Z Series 2010

    £15,500 £15,500

    BMW Z4 23i S-Drive Convertible Fully Loaded In Unmarked Metallic Black Paintwork Totally Immaculate inside and Out THIS BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE LOOKS, SMELLS AND DRIVES AS GOOD AS A BRAND NEW ONE In Showroom Condition Extremely Low Mileage 13600 (Up to date with all factory recalls on this model) HPI Cleared "The Interior" Black Leather Unmarked Heated Sports Seats Adjustable Steering Wheel With Controls Digital Climate Control Air Conditioning Excellent BMW Sound System Cd Player Sports Mode Cruise Control Aluminium Trim Upgrade Bluetooth Central locking Leather steering wheel "The Exterior" Immaculate Bodywork Unmarked 19" Alloy Wheels Parking Sensors Front & Back Fully Electric Folding Hard Top Factory Fitted Alarm Electric Folding Side Mirrors Full BMW Main Dealer Service History Always Garaged and only used on sunny days No Advisories On Last MOT Next Mot Due 15/05/2019 Any Inspection Is More Than Welcome Private Plate Not Included No Test Pilots Please THANK YOU FOR LOOKING Full service history

    • Mileage: 13600 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
    £15,500 £15,500
  • BMW Z4

    £15,950 £15,950

    Climate Control Air Conditioning, Heated Seats, Bluetooth, DAB Digital Radio, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Paddle Shift, Auto Lights, Start/Stop, Daytime Running Lights, Xenon Headlamps, Parking Sensors, ABS, Traction Control, DSC-Dynamic Stability Control, Power Steering, Remote Central Locking, Alarm, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Multiple Airbags, CD Player, AUX/USB 2 Owners, Full Black Kansas Leather, Remote Controlled 2 Piece Retractable Hard Top, 18 Inch Star-Spoke Style 325M Alloy Wheels, Full BMW Service History

    • Mileage: 56000 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    £15,950 £15,950
  • BMW Z4

    £3,995 £3,995

    Power Hood, Air Conditioning, Half Leather, Power Steering, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Central Locking, Colour Coded Body, 17'' Alloys BMW Z4 2.5I CONVERTIBLE 2DR, BLACK, HALF LEATHER, 110,335 MILES, AIR CON, CD PLAYER, E/WINDOWS, C/LOCKS, ABS, MULTI AIR BAGS, AUX, USB, E/MIRRORS, COLOUR CODED BODY, 17'' ALLOY WHEELS, SUSSEX, EAST SUSSEX, EASTBOURNE, BN23 6PJ

    • Mileage: 110335 mi
    • Engine size: 2494
    For sale
    £3,995 £3,995
  • BMW Z Series 1999

    £1,695 £1,695

    1999 T,98800mls, Montreal blue metallic Leather trim,Electric seats,electric windows,remote locking Drives very well,no issues,5 Speed 12 months mot  Good overall condition,Few age related marks Cheap open top motoring,make the most of the heatwave Any Trial call,txt Dave on 07788 515709 card payments accepted 

    • Engine size: 1895
    For sale
    £1,695 £1,695
  • BMW Z4

    £5,495 £5,495

    ABS, Multiple Airbags, Cruise Control, Air Conditioning, Remote Central Locking, Power Hood, Parking Sensors, Adjustable Steering Column, Height Adjustable Seat, Electric Seats, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Powered Folding Mirrors, Full Leather, Front Centre Armrest, Retractable Headrests, Colour Coded Body, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, CD Player, Radio, Alloy wheels, Service history LOW MILES - Stunning Performance and good looks - Fully retractable Power Hood - Rear Windbreak - Supplied to us by last local gentleman keeper - To be sold with: New MOT, Service and 12 months Comprehensive Warranty - Three year WARRANTY available.

    • Mileage: 53548 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £5,495 £5,495
  • BMW Z4

    £5,150 £5,150

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Memory Seats, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Electric Mirrors, Automatic Electric Windows, 18'' Alloys, Full service history Wow...... Not only does this car have a fantastic service history (last serviced 03/2018), It is fully HPI clear, Has 2 keys, Will come with RAC Warranty and breakdown cover and 12 months MOT. It also benefits from recently having had a full set of new BMW rated Bridgestone tyres fitted. The fantastic specification includes; Metallic Toledo Blue exterior with FULL black leather interior with heated seats, Driving dynamic control with Sport button, Electric seats with driver memory package, Wind deflector, Automatic headlights with headlight wash system, Rain sensing wipers, Parking sensors, Ice cold air-conditioning, Remote comfort roof operation, Multifunction steering wheel, and much much more. To re-cap...... 12 months MOT, RAC warranty and breakdown cover, 2 Keys, A full set of BMW rated Bridgestone tyres, HPI Clear and a fantastic specification. ONLY ARRIVED IN STOCK TODAY..... MORE PHOTOGRAPHS TO FOLLOW.We are based in Chesterfield less than 1 mile form M1 Junction 29a. Part exchange welcome. VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Finance available. See what our customers say about by clicking here http://www.autotrader.co.uk/services/car-dealers/uk/east-midlands/derbyshire/chesterfield/approved-used-cars-kent-ltd-chesterfield-dpp-10001273/reviews/true

    • Mileage: 92000 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £5,150 £5,150
  • BMW Z4

    £12,750 £12,750

    Two Owners, Service History, Alloy Wheels, Heated Seats, Parking Sensors, Power Hood, Automatic Electric Windows, Full Leather, Push Button Start, Electric Mirrors, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Power Steering, Dual Climate Zones, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, CD Player, Radio, Stereo, USB Connectivity, We provide an Inclusive Parts & Labour Guarantee, Extended Warranty Available at Cost, Alloy wheels, Service history OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK - A SELECTION OF UP TO 200 CARS AND VANS AVAILABLE. Click on dealer 'VISIT WEBSITE' link for many more large photographs of this car. We are a West Sussex Trading Standards Approved 'Buy with Confidence Dealership'.

    • Mileage: 51991 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    £12,750 £12,750
  • BMW Z Series 1998

    £1,800 £1,800

    BMW Z3, 1.9 silver MOT August 2019,some service history. Soft top in good condition no rips. Summer bargain. Collectors car. 

    • Mileage: 1900 mi
    • Engine size: 1895
    For sale
    £1,800 £1,800
  • BMW Z4

    £14,000 £14,000

    Canberra Beige Kansas Leather , Fine Grain Ash Inlays, Sports Pack Interior, Electric retractable hard top, Efficient Dynamics, Brake Energy Regeneration, Climate Control, Multiple Airbags, Cruise Control With Brake Function, Interior & Exterior Auto Dipping Mirrors, Electric Memory Seats , Interior Mirror Package, Sports Seats, Isofix, Front Centre Armrest, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Auto-dip Rearview, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Lights Package, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Intelligent Park Assist, Parking Sensors Front & Rear, Storage Compartment Package, Turbine Style 292 Alloys, USB Audio Interface, HiFi System Professional DSP , BMW Professional Audio, Factory Alarm, Full service history Excellent One Owner Example. Full BMW History. Low Mileage 6 Cylinder Engine. 12 Months Premium Warranty.

    • Mileage: 45000 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £14,000 £14,000
  • BMW Z4

    £16,000 £16,000

    Coral Red Kansas Leather, Int Aluminium Pk, M Sport Aerodynamics Pack, M Sport Package, BMW Profesional Navigation, Bluetooth Phone Connectivity, Brake Energy Regeneration, USB Audio Interface, Control Combox, Bluetooth Phone Preparation, Multiple Airbags, Climate Control, Cruise Control With Brake Function, Interior Mirror Package, Exterior Mirror Pack, Interior & Exterior Auto Dipping Mirrors, Sports Seats, Heated Seats, Isofix, Front Centre Armrest, M Sport Stg Wheel With Paddle Shift , Rain Sensor, Parking Sensors Front & Rear, Lights Package, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, 18'' M sport Alloys , M Sport Suspension, DRL (Day Running Lights), Mobile Phone Business Interface, Composition Media System , Storage Compartment Package, Wind Deflector, Factory Alarm, Factory Audio, Full service history Excellent Example. Low Mileage 6 Cylinder Engine. High Specification Includes Sat Navigation. 12 Months Premium Warranty Included.

    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    • Engine size: 2996
    For sale
    £16,000 £16,000
  • BMW Z3 Series

    £2,400 £2,400

    Very rare white example new water pump new brakes all around new coil springs good tyres recently treated hood 6 cd changer original new mot service history serviced 700 mile ago.

    • Mileage: 85000 mi
    • Engine size: 1895
    For sale
    £2,400 £2,400
  • BMW Z4

    £3,950 £3,950

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Colour Coded Body, Stereo, Radio, CD Player, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Brake Assist, Heated Seats, Head Restraints, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, 2x Car Keys, UK Supplied, UK Specification, Long MOT, Alloy wheels, Full service history

    • Mileage: 87903 mi
    • Engine size: 2171
    For sale
    £3,950 £3,950
  • BMW Z4

    £14,995 £14,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. An outstanding BMW E86 Z4 3.0Si Sport Coupe with just 18,929 miles. EQUIPMENT M Aerodynamic Bodystyling, M Sports Suspension, front and side airbags, automatic stability control + traction (ASC+T), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Driving Dynamics Control (Sport Mode), auto headlamps, heated screenwasher nozzles, Park Distance Control (PDC), M leather multi-function steering wheel, electric M Sports seats with memory, automatic climate control, auto wipers. Factory options: Comfort Package, Sun Protection Glass, seat heating, enhanced Bluetooth functionality. Dealer options; BMW paint protection kit. EXTERIOR This range topping Z4 3.0Si Sport finished in stunning Black Sapphire Metallic, (Code 475), has covered an incredibly low 18,929 miles from new with just two owners (Brothers). Commensurate with such low mileage and strict garage storage, the gleaming paintwork boasts a near flawless finish with absolutely no dings, scuffs or damage. All trim sections, Sun Protection Glass, lights and badges are as new and BMW main dealer number plates and rear screen sticker are fitted. The underside and all wheel arch apertures are beautifully clean. This muscular and imposing Z4 3.0Si Sport is a desirable model and the example presented here is far superior to the usual offerings. A cult classic in the making. INTERIOR Striking Dream Red Oregon Leather, (Code LAT5), wraps around the near perfect M Sports Seats which are hugely supportive, comfortable and perfect for both long distance touring and enthusiastic cornering. The electric memory seats with three stage seat heating operate seamlessly, as do all other functions and controls. The high-quality materials and brushed aluminium to the fashionable sculptured fascia are in pristine order, as is all switchgear and unworn M leather multi-function steering wheel. The carpets are spotless having been protected from new by genuine BMW over mats. A preserved and ergonomically superb interior. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION A true performance contender with the coveted straight six magic that has become synonymous with BMW. Displacing 2996cc, power output is quoted at 265bhp at 6600rpm and 315Nm torque at 2750rpm, and performance figures are impressive at 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds with electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Under bonnet splendour is guaranteed as the area is spotlessly clean, exactly as it left the production line with all correct stickers and identification plates in pace. The preferred 6-speed manual gearbox is precise with a short throw. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Standard Sport 18in BMW light-alloy double spoke wheels are in perfect order with as new BMW centre caps. The original Bridgestone Potenza tyres measuring 225/40 R18 and 255/35 R18 front and rear respectively have excellent tread remaining. The BMW tool roll is present and complete. The high-performance braking system featuring Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) is everything you would expect of this ultimate driving machine, powerful and safe. HISTORY FILE Built in September 2006 and supplied new by Main Dealer John Clark BMW Ltd of Aberdeen on the 10th March 2007, this example was purchased new by Mr Rory Donnelly. A BMW print out reveals a purchase price of £33,215 excluding on the road charges. Mr Donnelly also specified the expensive BMW paint protection kit which is still in the original BMW rucksack. The original BMW leather wallet houses all handbooks, guides and dealership literature as well as the service booklet. The most recent service entry by BMW Main Dealer, Sycamore Peterborough, is April 2018 at 18,846 miles and there is the corresponding BMW invoice in the history file. Further BMW invoices and previous MOT certificates are held within the history file along with two BMW keys and the master key blade. The second owner was Mr Donnelly’s Brother, Kevin, who purchased the car for his wife in January 2018. However, Kevin, an avid tractor collector could not resist the urge to part exchange the BMW for our 1985 Massey Ferguson 20B! A fabulous opportunity to purchase one of the best low mileage examples available. A truly exceptional car. MOT January 2019, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/VacclLduGfg To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskxJSdZZ 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 18929 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £14,995 £14,995
  • BMW Z4

    £8,495 £8,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Full Leather, Memory Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Trip Computer, Traction Control, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, Alarm, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, ABS, Air Bag, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Metallic Paintwork, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Alloy wheels, Full service history Here at BMH Cars we are delighted to offer you this BMW Z4 Coupe Si Sport. This vehicle drives wonderfully and has looks to match. This vehicle has great service history, as many stamps as a post office. For more information or to book a test drive, please ring on 01386 423611.

    • Mileage: 100000 mi
    • Engine size: 2996
    For sale
    £8,495 £8,495